Factors Leading to Immigrants Marrying More Often Than Natives

The revelation has already been made that immigrants have higher birth rates than natives of the United States and now it is a growing notion that immigrants are also more likely to marry more than natives of the US.  One of the primary reasons behind this growth is the fact that 300,000 immigrants arrive in the US annually with the hope of being married or marrying a US citizen.

In 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,077,000 nationwide marriages. However, confusion arises when comparing the 300,000 to the 2,077,000 marriages because some of the immigration weddings take place overseas and do not overlap the larger nationwide number whereas some of the 300,000 immigration marriages do overlap the nationwide statistics. Further adding to the confusion is the fact that different agencies report these numbers with the inclusion of the US Census Bureau that people often lie to in regards to marriage.

Experts decided to explore a single source by viewing marriage records in Arlington, Virginia from 2008 and Vermont from 2007.

Arlington is more saturated with immigrants whereas Vermont is not. With the cooperation of both states and public records, the following percentage of each category of marriage was found:

  • Native to Native       45% (Arlington)  86.3% (Vermont)
  • Foreign to Foreign    28% (Arlington)    2.5% (Vermont)
  • Foreign to Native      27% (Arlington)  11.2% (Vermont)

The higher rate of foreign born wedding participants is considered by three factors that help draw this conclusion:

  • The possibility that the immigrant population is more in the marrying age range
  • There is greater stress placed on the immigrant population culturally to marry rather than live together
  • Finally, there is a slight factor that marriage will result in a visa for one of the partners, granted most of the relationships are genuine, but some cases do involve fraud

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About Sam Moser

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